The 10th edition of the Middle East Natural and Organic Products (Menope 2012) unveiled on Tuesday at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with over 100 exhibitors from 25 countries showcasing their products. The exhibition, which will run for three days until Nov.29, was opened by Dr Selem Abdul Rahman Al Darmaki, Undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Health. The expo comes at a time when the organic and natural products market in the UAE and the Mena region is growing at rate of 15 per cent year-on-year, propelled by increasing awareness on leading a sustainable healthy lifestyle. Nadim Al Fuqaha, Managing Director of Global Links, the organisers of Menope 2012, said: “This year Menope is taking place in the context of the UAE government’s new regulation bringing an organised focus to the industry and potential to grow faster than the global average.” “The Middle East is believed to be the fastest growing market for organic and natural products in the world and this has also triggered global interest, evident in the participation of many world players in the organic market,” he added. According to him, the market is growing by over 15 per cent year on year and this is evident by the increasing volume of shelf space for organic products in outlets across the region. “The upswing of the regional organic food market is mainly driven by the rising affinity of the young population of the region to lead a healthy lifestyle. More and more consumers continue to shift away from conventional products, encouraged by the health benefits of organic products,” he elaborated. The Menope 2012 has significant country pavilion participation from Germany, India, KSA, Turkey, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, USA, Italy, Romania, Spain and the UAE. Over 5,000 trade visitors from across the region and the Indian Subcontinent are expected to visit the expo looking for deals and business opportunities. “The expo will also have seminars on healthy diet organised by the not-for-profit body, MEVEG and on alternative medicines. Menope 2012 will showcase a variety of products spanning across Herbals and Spices, Food and Beverages, Cereal Products, Supplements, Health Care products, Natural Living, Natural Cosmetics, Healing Products, Natural remedies, Traditional Medicines, Spas, Relaxation facilities, Pet products and Fabrics. The expo is endorsed by Dubai Municipality and the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. It is supported by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), ministries of agriculture of Philippines and Malaysia. “The demand for organic products will also grow as the prospects of an increasing regional population will lead to a rise in food consumption. The awareness on lifestyle diseases and its linkage to food habits has also fuelled interest for organic and natural products,” concluded Al Fuqaha.